24 Question 2

This answer may surprise you, but the Bible does not tell us to tithe.  Tithing was a requirement for the nation of Israel under the law.  It was for the upkeep of the Levites and for the tabernacle and temple, among other things.  We could compare it to our tax system today.  In fact, there were several tithes that were required of the people.  All together, the Israelites paid about 23% of all that they earned and possessed for tithes.

Let’s look at a couple of verses that speak of tithing.  Leviticus 27:30-34 says, “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.”  Then, in Numbers 18:21 we read, “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.”

There is much said about tithing in the Old Testament, but I think we can see from these few verses that it was required under the law for the support of the Lord’s work among His people.  Under the law, the amount was specified, but the attitude was not.  It was expected that everyone tithed as commanded of the Lord.

The word ‘tithe’ is only found twice in the New Testament.  It is used in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, when the people were still under the law.  From the book of Acts all the way through the book of Revelation, the word ‘tithe’ is not used.  Does that mean that we are not obligated to give to the Lord?  Well, the word ‘obligated’ is not a very good word to use in relation to our giving to the Lord.  Rather, we are privileged to be able to give to the Lord today.

As I said, under the law the amount was specified, but the attitude was not.  Today, in the church age in which we live, when it comes to giving, the amount is not specified, but the attitude is.  Let’s read  2 Corinthians 9:6-8, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”  The Lord wants us to realize the privilege of giving.  What an honor to be able to give to the Lord who has met all our needs, both spiritually and physically.  What an honor to be able to give back to the one who has given us so much.  Speaking of the Lord Jesus, Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “…the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

We are warned that if we act greedily towards the Lord, that will be reflected in our reaping.  When we put ourselves first; when we spend so much money on luxuries that we don’t have anything left to give to the Lord, our blessings will be less.  When we realize that our giving is not a necessity, but an honor, we are able to give in the proper attitude.  We will be able to give with a cheerful, thankful heart.  This is what pleases the Lord and His grace will abound towards us.

We are instructed in 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 about the collections being taken.  That says, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.”  This teaches us that on the first day of the week, which is Sunday, it is proper to receive a collection for the needs of the Lord’s people.  The Lord desires that our giving be proportional to how He has blessed us.  What if the Lord blesses us but we just cannot give back to him with cheerfulness and thankfulness?  I suggest that we confess our selfish attitudes to the Lord and pray as David did in Psalms 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  David further prayed in verse 12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation…”  When our hearts are focused on our gracious Lord, we will be so glad to give Him all we can afford.

I want to add one word about receiving money from those who are not saved.  Many church groups today solicit and receive money from people who have never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.  Proverbs 21:27 tells us, “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?”  How awful that some would have the attitude of rejecting God’s free gift of eternal life, but try to give to the Lord, as if he could buy favors or even salvation with his money.  If one is not saved, the Lord does not want his money.  It is an abomination to the Lord.  But, to those who know Christ as their savior, who are enjoying the blessings of being a child of God, we are privileged to know that the sacrifice of our money is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord.  (24.2)